Friday, November 30, 2012

Question about Traveling throughout India, Pakistan, Afghanistan

I just got this question, and I don't know the answer to it. I'll appreciate any responses to it.
One source says I can't travel through pakistan. I will check other sources, but what do you know? Im charting a route from india through pakistan to afghanistan, if not there then pakistan to oman across gulf of oman. I can fly if I have to but would prefer to travel across land. Any thoughts? Peace
Any suggestions, references, ideas will be greatly appreciated and forwarded to the questioner.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rest in Peace ...

I just found out that the husband of a Pashtun woman I know (in the U.S.) has been killed by some robbers at his store (at 11am - but the killers apparently escaped, and from what I understand, no effort is being made to find them. I'm gonna wait a while before declaring this racial discrimination). I didn't know him or had ever met him, but I've met his wife and think very positively of her - but I'm still in shock, devastated myself. I keep thinking that if I feel this way, what must the family be going through? It makes me shudder thinking that death certainly can attack anyone at any time! One minute all's well and a person is alive and loved by everyone around them; the next minute, they're gone and everyone's crying over them. And to think of all the people we take for granted, those special people we forget to say "I love you" and "thank you" to when we should .... Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raaji'oon (to God we belong to and to Him we return). May he rest in peace, and may his family and other loved ones be blessed with patience to deal with this unbearable loss, aameen. Prayers, well wishes for the family are requested.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Incomplete List of Books, Films on Pakistan History

When reading history--rather, anything at all--we should remember to read as many different versions as possible so as to get a bigger picture of the topic. Particularly when learning about the history of the formation of a state, we should be critical of everything we read and question the motives, the objectives and the agenda of the text. There are always at least two sides to every issue, and, without necessarily accepting or rejecting one or the other, we should at least familiarize ourselves with whatever is there so that our opinion is more informed.

I also suggest that we read more than one genre of historical writing to broaden our understanding of any particular historical event or phenomenon. These would include--besides books/textbooks--novels, movies/films, comics, letters, and so on. Each provides what the other may not, and they all can complement each other to give us a fuller, more closer to accurate depiction of the reality of something we're interested in learning about.

Below, I share a list of books and films on the history of Pakistan, and I ask that if there's any book/film out there that you think should be included in the list, please feel free to share it with us.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lessons from MESA 2012: On Using Accessible Language

I was fortunate to attend MESA 2012 these last few days, and the so-many things that I learned from it, along with my overall experience and impression of the conference, are I think very much worth sharing on my blog.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Why Malala? Some Answers

Originally published on A Safe World for Women.

Since the discussion on "why Malala?" isn't coming to an end any time soon, I figured it's worth addressing. If you or someone you know can't figure out why Malala has become an international heroine, a beloved of everyone around the world, "just because" she was shot by the Taliban while all these thousands of innocent children get killed--not just shot--on a daily basis in war-torn areas haunted by the U.S. army (the colonialists), then what I'm writing below is especially for you.

Self-harm among Pashtun Women from KPK?

Dear readers,
I've a good friend who has sent me the following requests that I'm not well-read in enough to suggest anything to her, so I decided to share it here in case there's someone out there who might be able to help. Feel free to reply either below this post OR send an email to

So... I want to write about the prevalence of self-harm (due to various reasons) amongst Pashtun women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [KPK] amidst the current conditions and all the conflicts going on.... If you have any resources about where I might be able to find this information, please let me know.

S. =)
Any suggestions/recommendations will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks! :)

P.S. For self-harm on Afghan women in response to the war, please click here. It therefore makes sense that one would wonder how self-harm works in other war-torn areas as well.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Photos (Messages) of Israel's Attacks on Palestine, November 2012

If what Israel is doing to Palestinians isn't terrorism, then I don't know what is. The politicization of death--murder--is unacceptable. It's no longer funny that we support some terrorism (i.e., when we fund it ourselves!) but not all. It's remarkable that children--CHILDREN, for God's sake, not terrorists!!!--are being killed, and the media makes it seem as if Israel is killing only terrorists! I was just reading some random headlines ... shaking my head the entire time, to almost each one. No, ignorants - Israel isn't fighting terrorists; it's killing innocent people who are victims of Israel's terrorism! 

As humans, as one human race, we need to accept responsibility for these war crimes and, at the very least, to speak against it. But yesterday, I overheard two students at my university talking about this. One was standing against Israel's war on Palestinians and the other was completely for it. His reason? "Look, I'm not saying Israel is entirely innocent, but neither is Palestine. We gotta get rid of the terrorists." I felt too numb, as much as I was dying to intervene and comment as well.

Terrorists? Really? In just the last couple of days, Israel has murdered over 221 Palestinians (all civilians!); 3 Israelis have been killed as well. And the 3 Israelis who've been killed are NOT civilians.

I'm compiling some photos I find powerful that I hope teach us all something. Again, if this isn't terrorism, I don't know what is. I understand that some of these images might be "graphic," but what else can a person due but to appeal to your sense of humanity. I'll add more as I come across them. Feel free to share your own ones if you'd like.

Gaza on fire. November 2012. Atatcked by Israel.

A beautiful and important reminder. Not all Jews are anti-love!

One of the many fathers who lost an infant (terrorist much?)

A reminder of our moral responsibility. What are YOU doing?

No, seriously.

SubhanAllah! Yes!

(Posted 1 day ago according to Google Images)
(Posted 1 day ago, according to Google Images)
God be with you, Gaza - humans are too afraid to speak the truth.
Smoke rises from Gaza 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Israel Bombs Palestine--again. November 14, 2012

Sorry in advance about the font, readers. I'm not sure what's going on.

Today, Wednesday, November 14, 2012, Israel attacked Gaza--and the attack is still going on as I write this. What happened was, "Israeli air craft carried out more than 70 air strikes killing 11 Palestinians, among them two children and one woman. In addition, 100 others were wounded among them at least 15 children and 18 women, according to medics." In fact, it's been going on since November 8, almost a week ago. How do Israel and the U.S. media "justify" it? "Palestine attacked first," they tell us. (Sounds like something kids say, no? "She started it! .... He started it!" Clearly, not all of us grow up.) 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

On the Lack of Pukhtun Women's Leadership - Part 2: the obstacles

A version of this article was originally published at Safe World for Women. Also at (in alphabetical order):

Recently on this blog, we discussed the lack of Pashtun (Pukhtun) women's leadership here, where folks from Twitter and Facebook offered some ideas on why there's this desperate lack of Pukhtun women leaders.  There, I stated that I believe the main obstacle to Pukhtun women's leadership is peghor, or "taunting" - the fear that people will talk and taunt a family for allowing its women to leave the confines of their homes. Here, I elaborate.

Please note that this was written weeks before the attack on Malala, and that's why she is not mentioned anywhere in it. That requires an article on its own, since it's a pity that there is a group among us that sees someone as young as Malala a threat to our religion and culture! So more on her another time, although I've talked about the attack on her here (Young Malala Yusufzai Shot), here (Praying for Malala), and here (How Not to Talk about Malala). 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pashtun Marriages in the West - Part 4a: Misconceptions about Pashtun Women Raised in the West

This is part 4 of the Pashtun Marriages in the West series that began several months ago but have been neglected due to a lack of time (and because it's a bit overwhelming, since there's really so much to say about it!). The series addresses some possible causes to the problem of marriage among Western Pashtuns or among the Pashtun Diaspora. I believe--and many Pashtuns agree with me on this--that one of the major causes of the problems is the misconceptions that Pashtuns, whether in the West or "back home," have about Pashtun females who are raised in the West. Here, I'm going to quote some Pashtun females, some of whom live in the West and others in Pakistan/Afghanistan, whose main point is that, yes, there are some many unfair and incorrect ideas about Pashtun girls/women of the West out there, and something needs to be done to dispel these myths.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pashtuns and Blogging - Part 3: what to blog about?

Part 3 on Pashtuns and blogging.

The question being asked currently, after "challenges to Pashtun bloggers," is: what should Pashtun bloggers blog about? My response is as follows.

Let's rephrase the question so as to avoid telling people what to do or what to blog about (but I'll discuss below why there might be merit in "telling" Pukhtuns what to blog about, considering the facts that we have the world's eyes on us and that we've to be very careful about what we write for the public). Remember that one of the purposes of blogging is for the blogger to feel free enough to write about what she/he wants to write about; others can only make suggestions if/when the blogger seeks them or might benefit from them. Otherwise, it's inappropriate to give the author the impression that she/he isn't writing about important subjects just because the subjects they're writing about may not be of personal importance to us as their readers.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Malala in Context: Mullah Fazlullah and the Taliban in Swat - Part I

Below, I share an English version of Nazrana's series on Swat, the history of the Taliban in Swat, and Malala's rise in the region. It is an effort to situate Malala in a certain historical, political, and social context that appears to be ignored in much of the discourse surrounding Malala currently. Pashtuns, particularly those who were in Swat between 2005-2009, are encouraged to read and follow the series critically and offer any insight that may be useful in our ensuring that the history is as (close to) correct as possible.

This is Part I.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Dream I Had about Maryam (Mary), Mother of Jesus

In a blog post from about a year ago, titled "Maryam, Mother of Jesus (r.), and Patience," I mentioned that my favorite Qur'anic figure is Maryam (may God be pleased with her), a reason for which is a dream I had about her when I was a kid.  And I promised my readers to share this dream in a separate blog post because it's a special and significant dream and deserves space of its own. So here, I am, finally fulfilling that promise, y'all! (Request: Please refrain from sharing any attempts at interpreting this dream. Thanks!)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pashtuns and Blogging - Part 2: the challenges

Previously, we've discussed why Pashtuns need to blog more, and we came up with at lest 5 major reasons (besides the more common reasons like: it's fun, it feels great to write down your feelings and thoughts and all, writing/blogging is a great medicine for the soul, etc.). So, here, we'll talk about what kinds of challenges are faced by Pashtuns during their blogging experience. I am not aware of all of them, so feel free to add more.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pashtuns and Blogging: Part 1 - 5 reasons why Pashtuns need to blog

VOA (Voice of America), Pashto, Deewa Radio recently started a series on blogging among Pashtuns, discussing reasons for why we should blog, what kinds of challenges bloggers face, what we think they should write about, what they write about, etc. And so this blog post is both to thank VOA for starting such an important program, especially considering how wide their audience is, and to encourage other Pashtuns to start blogging if they do not already. In this part, I'll only discuss some of the reasons why Pashtuns need to blog and why we need more Pashtun bloggers.

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